Let’s be honest— every week is an art week for those of us entrenched in the artistic community. But this upcoming week, November 3 – 12, is the official Denver Arts Week presented by Visit Denver, where over 300 events will occur to bring awareness and attention to the vibrant and thriving art scene in the city. Events will include everything from live painting, music, hip hop dancing, theater, film, sculpture and more. The whole week kicked off Thursday morning when Mayor Hancock tried to learn some hip hop dance moves and said a few words about the importance of art and culture in front of the well-known French artist Salah.
Part of the reason Mayor Hancock was involved in helping start the week is because of his IMAGINE 2020 District challenge — where he gave $2,020 to each councilmember to spend on arts and culture related activities or events in their districts during the celebration. This came as part of Denver’s larger IMAGINE 2020 cultural plan, started in 2014 as a blueprint for strategic direction in the arts. Denver Arts Week marks the midpoint in that campaign, as Mayor Hancock noted, “we’ve now reached the halfway point of the cultural plan, and we’re thrilled with the collaboration, implementation and infusion of arts and culture we’ve seen so far in our neighborhoods and around the city.”
With over 300 events, the options can be tailor-made for anyone from the all-out art aficionado to someone who usually prefers sports and a beer. 303 Magazine narrowed down the options to a few outstanding events, with descriptions.
When: November 1 – 12
Where: Sie FilmCenter, UA Pavilions, Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Cost: Varies from $5 to $40 per movie
The Lowdown: The 40th year of the Denver Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday night with a Red Carpet screening of Lady Bird. With two weeks of nearly constant movies in three locations, everyone should find time to at least see one movie in the festival. The organizers pumped up the other programming this year, including an entire floor of the McNichols Building dedicated to virtual reality experiences, noting that just screening movies is no longer enough.
When: November 3 – 11
Where: Denver Pavilions, 500 16th St.
The Lowdown: Each day, the large LED screen next to the UA Pavilion movie theater on 16th Street Mall will play looping animations from the SUPERNOVA festival which occurred on September 22 – 23 in Denver. According to their website, SUPERNOVA is the “only major festival to focus solely on the latest advances in digital animation as art by leading artists from around the world, presented free to the public.” This coincides with the Denver Film Festival, but stands apart in how abstract (read: bizarre) the digital animations can get.
Live Painting and DJs
When: Live painting on November 5 from 5 – 10 p.m.
Where: The ART Hotel, 1201 Broadway
The Lowdown: Join two of the artists from the So-Gnar Creative Division— Pat Milbery and Jason Graves— as they live paint a mural while Steven Dermody DJ’s. The event is free to the public and is a celebration in honor of Denver Arts Week. The So-Gnar Creative Division is responsible for the “Love this City” murals, which were a collaborative effort between Visit Denver and the group of artists. The group also paints other murals around town, sometimes by themselves or with one or two other people. You could extend the excitement from this event into Sunday by trying to find all of their murals in Denver with our mapped guide:
When: October 2017 – October 2018
Where: Civic Center Park
The Lowdown: Ai Weiwei is one of the biggest names in the world of art at the moment, and he shipped 12 bronze statues to Denver’s Civic Center Park for an exhibition that will last through Denver Arts Week. The 12 animal head sculptures—each one a member of the zodiac— were installed on October 3, and are designed based on historic figureheads that were stolen in the late 1800s by French and British Troops. Even if the statues aren’t your thing, knowing the history of Ai Weiwei’s persecution at the hands of the Chinese government regarding political stances in his art ought to bring you to see them.
When: November 4 – 5
Where: Buell Theater
Cost: Starts at $20
The Lowdown: The world’s biggest festival of hip-hop dance, curated by the famous UK hip-hop artist Jonzi D, will come to Denver at the Buell Theater for a few nights this weekend. Tickets to the actual show— which runs roughly two hours and 30 minutes with intermission— start at $20, but there is a free “303 Jam” on Saturday from 1 – 5 p.m., free to the public, where workshops, demonstrations, performances and live DJs. The two and a half hour show consists of international and local hip-hop dancers, with international companies Protocol (UK), Salah (France), Soweto Skeleton Movers (South Africa) and Yeah Yellow (France) included.
Her Paris at DAM
When: October 22, 2017 – January 14, 2018
Where: Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave.
Cost: $24 non-member, adult pricing
The Lowdown: Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism, is an exhibit that showcases women who worked in Paris in the late 1800s. Paris was more than a destination for experiencing art, it was the place to study and master it. The women who made it their mission to become masters in the field of painting did so with the knowledge that most men would be skeptical at best and brutally misogynistic at worst. Curated by Laurence Madeline, the chief curator for French National Museums, and organized by the American Federation of the Arts, Her Paris is a meditation on persisting in a world that sometimes wants you to quit.
When: November 3, 5 – 10 p.m. (roughly)
Where: Arts Districts across Denver
The Lowdown: Every first Friday of the month, Denver’s art districts celebrate by having galleries stay open later, connecting artists with their audiences and creating collaborative experiences. Usually, there is free wine and appetizers at many of the galleries, which is only one of the attractions that bring people to visit. No matter where you live in Denver, there is an art district nearby— Santa Fe, Tennyson, RiNo, Arts on Belmar, Golden Triangle and now 40 West in Lakewood. Stop by one of the districts or travel to many, and you’ll see each one carries a unique vibe. For Denver Arts Week, many participating galleries will have discounts, with a few having sales of art that cost $52.80.
When: November 4 from 5 – 10 p.m.
Where: 12 Denver museums (details below)
The Lowdown: For one night only, 12 of Denver’s museums will open their doors for free and stay open later than normal. This after-hours experience can also be driverless with their free shuttle that will loop around to each museum (or nearby) with pickups starting at 5 p.m. The 12 museums are: Black American West Museum, Byers-Evan House Museum, The Cell, Children’s Museum of Denver at Marisco Campus, Clyfford Still Museum, Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Firefighters Museum, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Forney Museum of Transportation, History Colorado Center and the Molly Brown House Museum.